Statement by President Hollande on his arrival in India
The President of the French Republic, François Hollande, recalled the strong ties that exist between India and France since numerous years
Chandigarh, 24 January2016
François HOLLANDE: Ladies and gentlemen, this is my second trip to India since the beginning of my presidential mandate. Today it has a special significance as I am invited for Republic Day, celebrating the Constitution of India. There is even a military parade bringing together the French and the Indian armies. This is the best symbol that can be given to the relations between France and India.
Since many months, beyond the strategic partnership that we have forged since many years, there is the will of France and India to work in the same direction. I will name two: first, security, because we are concerned by regional crises, and also terrorism.
Both our countries have been struck. Thus, we will together further intensify our exchanges, participate in inter-service cooperation and act to reinforce our military equipment. This is, in fact, part of this trip’s agenda.
But there is a second subject that comes immediately after the success of the COP21 in Paris in December, at which Prime Minister Modi had played a very important role and enabled, through his initiatives and concepts that he had formulated, i.e. “climate justice”, to reach this result.
We will therefore translate into action our common will to implement the Paris Agreement as swiftly as possible by launching the Solar Alliance here, that is a great epic, a great adventure, where our companies – which are present in great numbers here – will be welcomed in India to be in the forefront, and also to be, I hope, in the vanguard of all these equipment that we need to provide for solar energy, energy efficiency, energy storage.
So, many jobs are also involved through this trip, apart from the diplomatic, political and even military importance that I wished to also give to this visit.
Question: Mr President, what is the status of the Rafale negotiations?
François HOLLANDE: They are progressing. You know that when Prime Minister Modi came to Paris, he himself announced the order for 36 aircraft, but with conditions that were to be specified. The idea is to have an inter-governmental agreement between France and India so that thereafter, the companies concerned may take the process to its conclusion.
So here we will be crossing another step and which will go, we hope, towards India’s acquisition of 36 Rafale aircraft, because India needs it and France has demonstrated that they are the best aircraft in the world.
Question: So there isn’t going to be any signing on the occasion of your visit?
François HOLLANDE: The contract itself can only be signed after the inter-governmental agreement. It’s the inter-governmental agreement – that is what our Indian friends desired – that will enable the commercial agreement. So, the inter-governmental agreement will be discussed here during the visit. Thank you.